Where I Came From

It's important to remember where you come from. The above picture is what made me who I am today. When I was ten, I was in a car accident. We were on our way home to Iowa from vacation in Oklahoma, visiting my Aunt and Uncle. My step-dad's boss told him he needed to either be back the following day or find a new job. My parents had taken turns driving, but my mom handled most of it due to my dad needing to be "work ready".  We made it to Kansas, at sometime after six in the morning, and my mom fell asleep after driving all night. We crossed a bridge, and she started driving toward the outside edge. My step-dad woke up and swerved the wheel toward the middle railing. My memory of the many retellings is a bit fuzzy at this point, but basically the van ran into a guard rail which sliced through the right side of the vehicle. On the left side of the van sat my mom, six-month-old sister, and four-year-old brother. On the right, my step-dad, grandma, and I. Nobody on the left side of the vehicle was harmed physically, however my brother soon after talked to my grandma about the desire to become superman and lift the rubble off me and I'm sure in deeper talks you could find he was more deeply affected than that.

My mother still feels a plethora of emotions based on that day. It's hard to tell what she's thinking, but the main two I've seen are guilt, and gratefulness. This is understandable, but wholly unnecessary. The day the accident happened, is the day I began my unending journey to being the best I can be. Everyday is another step, sometimes forwards and sometimes backwards, but whichever direction I go I know it's what I need in the long run. My journey began when I was told I wouldn't be able to walk again, and I decided that I would. After months of therapy, and years of practice, I returned to a normal life free of crutches and stair-climbers. I blossomed, and participated in cheerleading, and school plays, and even tennis. Despite my moanings soon after the wreck that nobody would love me because of how my leg looked, I fell "in love" time and time again, and actually just got married.

I promise myself everyday now that this is the body I have, and I need to love it. As long as I'm eating well and exercising, then this is the best I can be. I didn't used to feel this way, in my past I've battled with various eating disorders and compulsions, but I still remember the first body-promise I made to myself. After the accident I promised myself I was never allowed to dislike my legs, because I should be lucky to have them at all. I've never once broken this promise. I could spend all day listing the imperfections in my body, but my legs would never be mentioned. Why? Firstly, ten-year-old me was right. I am lucky to still have my legs. Yes, my condition has impaired me in more than one way. I spent a year and a half battling a bone infection, which resulted in my pinkie toe being amputated. I have severe mobility issues which affect my ability to exercise. My severed nerve causes spazms frequently, and I have to wear a brace which does not allow for much choice in foot wear. All that being said, I can still go on a walk with my husband, chase my son around the park, and dance with my daughter. Even more than that, the accident provided me with strength and endurance. I've had a lot of rough patches in my life, but because of going through my recovery I have an ingrained understanding of the phrase "this too, shall pass." It also led me to the belief that beauty has broader definitions than "tall, thin, and tan".

My scar my not be what I came into the world with, but it will definitely be there when I leave. Honestly, I don't want it to go. It's a constant reminder that I am different, and because of that I am strong. The pain I went through because of the accident motivated me to push through my daughter's birth as I repeated to myself "Hey you, we've been through worse." I try my hardest to apply how I feel about my leg to how I feel about the rest of me. Sometimes it doesn't work, but usually it does. My hair will always be frizzy, but it will also always be mine. As will my butt, and back, and stomach and arms, so why not roll with it. Not everyone agrees with this, but once everyone else has to wear my skin then I'll start counting their votes. You are you. Be beautiful, however you need to be, and rock what you got!


Malene said...

I came to check out your blog to see your post about the Big Fat Summer Challenge. Instead I came across this post. Thank you so much for sharing this. I find it so inspiring that you in an age of 10 was able to be SO strong and self-loving.

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